El Salvador President Nayib Bukele rejected recent criticism by U.S. congressional lawmakers of the alleged deterioration of human rights during the emergency regime that has been in effect in the Central American country since last March.
“Zero homicides. While some members of Congress from this other country want us to return to the past of death and destruction that El Salvador has gone through… We continue to show that we are much better off without them,” Bukele responded on the social network Twitter.
Mientras unos congresistas de otro país quieren que regresemos al pasado de muerte y destrucción que vivió El Salvador…
— Nayib Bukele (@nayibbukele) September 13, 2022
The head of state alluded to a hearing held Monday in the U.S. Congress, in which Democrat Jim McGovern stated that civil society in El Salvador is currently suffering hostilities similar to those experienced during the armed conflict that bled the country between 1980 and 1992.
Scott Busby expressed this concern to the U.S. State Department’s Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, who doubted that the waiver would provide a lasting solution to El Salvador’s gang problem.
Testifying before the Congressional Human Rights Committee, Busby pointed out that among the 53,000 suspected gang members arrested during this regime are 1,979 minors and at least 73 detainees who have died in police custody or overcrowded and violent prisons.
State Department Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Emily Mendrala added at the hearing that some measures of the state of emergency violate human rights standards and are untenable from a practical standpoint.
The Bukele government defends the effectiveness of the state of emergency, which was imposed after a wave of killings by local gangs in response to the arrest of several members who, according to local media, had broken an alleged pact between the criminal structures and the government.
This situation exacerbated the deterioration of diplomatic relations between the United States and El Salvador that began when Democrat Joe Biden took office in January 2021.